A former longtime youth skateboarding coach has been convicted of sexually assaulting six children, Philadelphia authorities said.
Rodney Watkins, 55, was able to access his victims through Powerfulnailya, a skateboarding club he founded and ran, District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a Thursday news release.
On Wednesday, Watkins pleaded no contest to charges involving six victims. Pennsylvania authorities have withdrawn a seventh case against him because the alleged assault had occurred outside of the statute of limitations.
The former coach is now convicted of three counts of involuntary deviant sexual intercourse of a child, one count of aggravated indecent assault of a person younger than 14, three counts of corruption of minors, and two counts of unlawful contact with minors.
For years, Watkins was a fixture at local skate parts who would spot young talent and invite them to join his skate team, with promises of mentorship and out-of-state road trips.
The then-respected coach traveled with his young athletes to skateboarding competitions in New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Maine.
But in 2022, the skate teacher, known by his nickname “the Ancient,” was arrested and charged after two adults contacted the Philadelphia Police Special Victims Unit and told them they had been sexually assaulted by Watkins in 2011 and 2012. They were both children at the time the incidents occurred.
“He would say if I told anyone he would ruin my skateboarding career,” one of his alleged victims told police, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported at the time.
After the initial complaints, five more adults came forward to report Watkins had also assaulted them as minors.
“I want to thank Philadelphia Police SVU detectives and my office’s Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit for seeking accountability for survivors, sometimes more than a decade after they were victimized as children,” Krasner said in a statement Thursday.
He also thanked all who helped to secure Watkins’ conviction “on very serious charges while sparing survivors who came forward what would likely have been a retraumatizing trial experience.”
Watkins is scheduled to be sentenced on May 3.